A WEEKEND IN BAGUIO PLUS TWO AWARDS

April 4, 2007

Just one of the items we brought home from Baguio City was the Gangeh Di Montanyosa (Mountain Sound) by the Mofamco Cultural Guild. We bought it from the Tam-Awan Village where there are galleries of artworks by local artists and installations of different kinds of Cordillera ethnic dwellings. It is a place maintained by local cultural workers with the help of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). In this regard, we cannot help but wonder if the same effort can be done by giving our Agta brothers in Mount Asog the chance to also showcase their art in exchange of livelihood derived from tourism. But then Baguio has that edge, because it is already a favorite destination by Filipinos and foreigners alike. Besides, it is apparent that cultural workers in the area are more united like the Baguio Writers Group.

There must be something about cool temperature and level-headed creativity. It is a known fact that many of our writers love to visit the place not to have a vacation but to write and finish some important manuscript. Jun Cruz Reyes goes there to write. Cirilo Bautista owns a house and lot there. And every summer, writers and mentors troop there for the annual national writers workshops. Writing will keep you warm in a cold place (ala Butch Dalisay). Even critics will be more polite.

At the Tam-Awan village (sounds like the Iriganon term Tan-Awan, really), we tasted hybridity via the unique concoction of Benguet-Batangas coffee. Not as aromatic as Davao coffee but just as reinvigorating. We were planning to look for it at the public market but sort of forgot, succumbing to our appetite for the local version of the longganisa and our penchant for Bul-ol and other wooden figures.

Ironically, we seemed not so fed up with the SM outlets in Metro-Manila. We went to check their branch there and found it to be better than the others in terms of architecture. Of course, there was no centralized aircon, but cool winds coming from the mountains freely circulated in and out of the building. This was made possible by its terrace and canopy-like structure.

Our vacation was worth our while albeit cut short by the Araw ni Balagtas held at the Mabini Social Hall, Malacañang Palace last Monday (April 2). We were there to attend the awarding ceremony for the Talaang Ginto: Gawad Surian sa Tula, Gantimpalang Collantes (for my poem Hagbayon). It was also the occasion for the Gawad “Soc” Rodrigo Award, Gantimpalang Carlo J. Caparas sa Komiks and the launching of the Ani ng Wika 2006. Present were the Teatro Marikeño, Brenda Jean M. Postero, Dr. Fe Aldave-Yap, Eduardo Ermita, Cecile Guidote-Alvarez, Jessli Lapus, Carlito Puno, Isabel Martin, Carmelita C. Abduraliman, Ricardo Ma. D. Nolasco, Santiago Villafania, Dr. Sheilee B. Vega, Atty. Dalisay Ople-San Jose, Cerge Remonde, students and academicians, and the winners for this year’s awards.

It was a surprise that we were also given KWF and NCCA’s Gawad Francisco “Soc” Rodrigo, making me bring home two distinctions that day. We know the late senator as a lawyer and an ace-debater and orator. But he was also known for his Tagalog poems, particularly his tanaga that dealt with the social and political issues of his day. Truly, in poetry content is form and form is content, as exemplified by Sen. “Soc” Rodrigo.

 

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